Choosing Internal Doors

These fittings are one of the most tactile parts of your home’s interiors, so it pays to look for high-quality designs, says Chris Bates
Chris Bates, Editor of Build It magazine
by Chris Bates
23rd July 2018

They may not be the first thing on the shopping list for your self build or renovation, but the right internal doors can add real wow factor to a home. With that in mind, more and more of us are looking to focus some budget on this part of our projects.

You may wish to match the design and materials to other elements of the decor, such as the mouldings, staircase and flooring. This is likely to work particularly well in heritage-style properties. Others prefer a contrasting approach, perhaps using unusual timbers, grain patterns or strong colour options.

Using glazed panels can transform the look and feel of a room, too, while exactly how the doors are fitted will make a big difference. Do you want to install traditional architraves, for instance, or would you prefer to see a shadow gap? The second route can look fantastically modern – but the craftsmanship involved on site will push up your costs.

Internal door by Eclisse
Pocket doors, like this single-leaf Eclisse system, slide into a cavity in the wall, providing a space-saving option where you want to maintain privacy
Internal door by Deuren
The Trem Glass door from Deuren features a large, central glazed panel that allows light to flood any room, while creating a stunning focal feature in the entrance hall

There are practical considerations, too. Will a standard opening method work for you, or would pocket doors that slide into the wall be better fit? This can save on the floor space you’d loose with a hinged format, and could allow you to segregate an open-plan zone.

Will a door leaf-only solution suit you (they can be ideal for renovations), or are you better off opting for full ready-to-fit doorsets? The latter generally include the lining, architrave, skirting and all the ironmongery – making them a quick, easy-to-install option.

Source it: Find internal doors to fit your scheme in the Build It Directory

You also need to look at the door construction. Hollow core versions are budget-friendly, consisting of two veneered skins surrounding a lightweight honeycomb structure. But they’re difficult to refinish when they become worn and aren’t great at blocking sound transmission.

A high-quality solid unit with an engineered core will set you back significantly more, but will be robust, long-lasting and deliver much better thermal and acoustic insulation.

Browse the gallery for more internal door ideas:

Expert view

Ian Chubb, founder and managing director of bespoke door maker Deuren, reveals his top trend ideas and practical tips for this part of your project.

Self builders and renovators can make a real impact with their design choices – how can they do that with internal doors?

The big trend is for oversized units. The old standard height was 6’6″ (1,980mm), but now people want to go taller – in some cases right up to ceiling height.

We’re building houses with higher ceilings these days, and conventional units can look strange in that context. We’ve actually fitted a bespoke internal door that’s 4.5m tall and 4m wide into a kitchen-diner. It makes a real statement and can match the scale of external entrances like sliders and bifolds.

What are the rules if you’re thinking of incorporating glazing into your doors?

This feature is a great way to spread natural light around the home and retain an open-plan feel, while still creating separate rooms when you need them. It can be especially effective if you use clear glass.

We do a full-height glazed unit that’s very popular, where the pane is a structural component of the door, using laminated glass for safety and security.

Do you have any suggestions on the kinds of finishes that can set a design apart?

In recent years many homeowners have gone for grey oak. It’s a great colour – but it doesn’t work in every room, so there’s a subtle shift towards grey ash at the moment. This hue has a little brown in it, so it’s a bit warmer and this means it blends better with other popular interior materials, such as walnut flooring.

How can people add more individuality to their internal door arrangement?

It’s easy to fall into the mindset that every door should be the same, and that tends to lead people to choose a neutral colour. But through each of the six doors in your hallway lies an individual room with its own personality.

So we’re doing a lot of two-colour designs these days, with a different hue or finish on either side. That could be a couple of strong paint shades, two timbers, or one side in wood and the other painted – for example, you could go for a matt black in a home cinema to suit the ambience, but a more standard finish in the corridor.

Another option is to opt for a single colour and style for the door, but switch to a contrasting look for the frame and architrave. One popular choice is to have a grey oak leaf set against white skirting.

Do you have any advice for homeowners when it comes to selecting hardware?

Your choice of ironmongery is really important. We use concealed hinges, which help to create clean lines. A lot of our effort and expertise goes into helping clients choose the best handles. This is one of the few bits of a house you actually touch, so it not only needs to look right but it has to feel right, too.

Chrome and satin chrome are popular, and another trend is for timber – in the same material as the solid wood door, for instance. In some cases you can spend just as much on the handles as you do on the door.

Top image: On a heritage project, the best route is often to preserve original features. That’s exactly what AR Design Studio chose to do with the internal doors in this stable conversion

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